Colombia’s crude oil reserves were up 9.9% to 1.96 billion barrels at the end of last year, as efforts to increase exploration, production and reserves paid dividends for the Andean country.
At 2018 production levels the reserves are equivalent to 6.2 years of output, the Energy Ministry said in a statement. The figure was up compared to 2017 reserves of 1.78 billion barrels.
Gas reserves decreased 2.9 percent to 9.8 years equivalent, down from 11.7 years equivalent in 2017, the statement said.
“Projections show that if we do not find new sources, by 2021 to 2023 we could need imported gas to supply domestic demand in some areas of the country, at a price more than double that of internal cost,” Suarez said.
The Andean country produced 316 million barrels of oil last year, the ministry said.
Colombia is in the midst of an effort to increase production and oil reserves after being battered by the global fall in oil prices.
It recently modified contractual terms for offshore exploration and launched a permanent bidding process in an effort to boost its long-stagnant oil sector. Companies including Shell, Noble, Repsol, Ecopetrol and Parex have since signed on to operate new blocks.
The use of the hydraulic fracturing technique, known as fracking, could nearly triple the country’s reserves of crude and gas, Suarez has said.
The government is examining the recommendations of an expert commission that studied the use of possible fracking in the country and recommended strict monitoring of three pilot projects to determine whether it should be widely used.